I've been to many sessions at industry conferences that teach about different learning styles (visual, auditory, kinesthetic, tactile), and I do believe that different people may learn best in different ways. But the problem that always brings up for meeting managers is, of course, how do you accommodate all those learning styles in one session? And multiply that over dozens, maybe even hundreds of sessions over the course of a conference, and it becomes a pretty difficult proposition, or so I've heard.
In fact, according to this item on NPR, some researchers now say that there's no evidence that tailoring education to different learner types actually improves learning. Instead, they say, it might make more sense to rely on other learning theories that have evidence to back up their worth
Far be it from me to argue that it's not a good idea "to figure out similarities in how our brains learn, rather than differences." That means, says University of Virginia Professor Dan Willingham, to boost attention by switching things up regularly. "Mixing things up is something we know is scientifically supported as something that boosts attention," he says in the article. Another good practice supported by research is to provide chunks of learning over a period of time, rather than dumping the lot on learners all at once.
While the article appears to be talking about teaching kids, I think it holds true for us alleged grownups as well.
For presenters and planners, what's your philosophy and/or practice (they may be two different things) when it comes to accommodating different learning styles? If you do, how do you deal with the logistics of it? If you don't, what do you default to, and what if any effect do you think it has on the learning?
Update: I totally forgot about this interesting article Ellie Bayrd, Associate Editor with Meetings: Minnesota's Hospitality Journal, wrote last year on learning styles (it even, ahem, includes a few quotes from your truly).